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Gay Welsh priest likens equal marriage fight to apartheid

Dean of St Albans believes gay weddings will be held in churches in just 10 years time
Gay Christian cleric Jeffrey John likens gay marriage fight to apartheid

A Welsh gay priest likens the struggle for gay marriage to apartheid but claims same-sex weddings could be held in British churches in as little as 10 years time.

The Very Reverend Jeffrey John says he has been with his partner for 37 years now and insists there is no difference between the commitment of same-sex couples and straight spouses.

He goes on to liken the struggle for equal marriage to apartheid in South Africa.

'As long as there is a difference in law between marriages and civil partnerships, it's certain that partnerships will be viewed as being secondary,' he told the BBC's Taro Naw program.

'The only purpose for apartheid was to ensure inequality existed between black and white people,' he added.

'In the same way, differentiating between heterosexual marriages and civil partnerships means that gay couples are being seen as inferior.

'It's completely unacceptable.'

The Dean of St Albans' comments come amid fierce opposition from church leaders to government plans to legalize gay marriage, but John is optimistic this will change in the future.

'The Prime Minister wants to see same-sex marriage becoming legal by 2015 and I'm sure that will happen,' said the hospital chaplain.

He added: 'I believe that before long we'll see some kind of official services within the church to bless gay partnerships, but not same-sex marriages.

'I think that will come but it could take another 10 years. That's how the church works, we're always two steps behind everyone else.'

Despite pressure from both the Anglican and Catholic churches, as well as traditionalist rebels within his own Conservative Party, Prime Minister David Cameron has told ministers that he wants to pass an equal marriage bill as soon as possible.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey led a rally in Birmingham last week to voice their opposition to gay marriage, warning that Britain will become like Nazi Germany if the legislation is passed.

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